Dear Sisters and Elders,
Happy New Year! Isn’t it beautiful to contemplate a whole new year? Isn’t it beautiful the way the Lord has provided us with so many opportunities to evaluate where we are and how we are doing? He gave us the Sacrament, our birthdays, transfers, weeks, months and years- in short He gave us time. I have given much thought to how I want to spend my time this New Year. I want to spend my time fulfilling my purpose, which is: ‘to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Preach My Gospel reminds us that we are surrounded by people who are all His children too but ‘are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it’. D and C 123:12. We must always remember that everyone who walks the earth fought for Him in the pre mortal life. They fought with their testimonies and have earned the right to hear the gospel here. We have the awesome responsibility and opportunity to be bearers of this message.
We must spend our time wisely. We must serve His way. The opening lines or message of His ministry were, “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). We might think of Jesus saying, “Just do it the way I do it. Just do it the way I have asked you to do it. Just talk the way I talk. Walk the way I walk. Treat people the way I treat people. Stop and talk to everyone. Nurture them. Teach them. Cry with them. Love them. Come, follow me.” Can you envision Him as he walked the streets of the holy land and helping or talking to all who needed him? His focus was on people . And so I ask you to keep righteousness in the forefront of your mind; keep the Savior in the forefront of your mind. Then forget yourself and go to work. Dive in, roll up your sleeves with your companion and say, Let’s get up on time. Let’s have our perfect mornings! Let’s get to work. Let’s find, teach, baptize and retain. We can do this!”
President Monson has taught, “Missionary work is difficult. It taxes one’s energies, it strains one’s capacity, it demands one’s best effort…No other labor requires longer hours or greater devotion or such sacrifice and fervent prayer.” Ensign May 1995,49 Elders and Sisters, it is not just enough to be here. The scriptures teach us that He does not have to bless us when we are unworthy even if we have been set apart and blessed. We must serve Him with all of our hearts, might, minds and strengths. We must be committed to fulfilling our purpose while we are here. President Monson also said, “The missionary opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants..”
The beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to commit to dig deep and go to work and to do it His way. I have every confidence in you. I know you can do this. Most of you already are. I have looked into your eyes and seen your hearts. You are wonderful, committed Sisters and Elders. You are making a difference. I love you and I believe in you. I really love you and believe in you.